Stereotyping in 2021

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With everything going on these past few years you would think this wouldn’t be as relevant but it is. Sadly it is just as relevant as the Covid virus. Assumptions are higher than normal. People are adding their fears to the mix which in my thoughts is a deadly combination. And with facts not being shared people are feeling that stereotyping is valid. From your day to day life to Police Officers to Postal workers.

No one is safe from this labeling . I’ve had to deal with some sort of stereotype my whole life. From Being too fat to walk with my head up or being that angry black woman for standing up for myself. I won’t lie and say its not annoying because it is, but I can also see the shift of how it has become more serious now than it was in my past. No one is safe. Asian Americans are being attacked just because their face looks like a rumor! that, that’s were the virus came from or that’s the excuse being used to spread hate for a different culture. A White woman can’t try to learn about different cultures to make herself wiser without being giving a title of sellout or culture thieves from both sides because everyone and I mean everyone is on a edge with any type of actions from anyone. I want to say people have been stuck in their homes and forgot that what they see on their screens is for entertainment and that those scenes are not real life.

Every Black Man that is well off didn’t make their fortune from drugs.

Every White woman doesn’t date a Black man for the size of his private parts.

Every Asian isn’t trying to cook your pets.

Every White person is not looking down on everyone else.

Every Latino Male is not in some type of gang.

Some of these types are pretty classic but unfortunately still relevant in our world today. I know it won’t stop and I’m sure there are plenty of other stereotypes I couldn’t think of and I’m glad that isn’t my mindset to try but I hope that the level will eventually die down and people will realize that as much as you try to put a stereotype on them, those same people can do the same to you. And where will that lead to?

HPS Spotlight Star

CONTRINA JENKINS
Making movies is something other’s may dream about BUT not Miss. Jenkins

What made you decide to start making movies?

Contrina: To be completely honest I never thought about being a filmmaker or a writer. I l always loved movies but it never cross my mind, now I couldn’t imagine not doing it. I started out on the open mic and one day I thought it would be cool to try and write a play. Gave the play to one my best friends Vincent Johnson “Black Bluez” and he suggested we do a stage play. And from there I fell in love with stage production. We did a play called Love Is, we hired a videographer to come out and film it for us. He liked the play and suggested that we turn it into a movie and we went for it.


What is your favorite part of the process of making a film?

 Contrina: I love being on set. To watch the characters come to life. Its my happy place

Being a Intelligent Strong Black Woman in the filming industry How has that helped you and yet what have your challenges been?

Contrina: Its definitely made me developed tougher skin. I get a chance to tell “our” story in my own way. Sometimes I feel as a black woman you have to work twice as hard. People don’t take you seriously. I do get labeled as the “angry black woman” which is so frustrating at times. I do feel some label you as a “Bitch” when you are driven and stand up for your beliefs.

How do you go through your casting? You pick some amazing people

Contrina: Houston is so full of talent. For our full length movies, we have open auditions. I usually advertise it on social medial and casting sites. For short films, I usually handpick people, its usually people I’ve previously worked with.

Name your creations and where they can be seen

Contrina: Love Is… can be found online through Amazon and different streaming services. Pipe Dreams is on Youtube. Definition of Manhood (short film) was strictly made for the film festivals. We have a new movie coming out next month on August 14th at Yorktown AMC, I will be submitting that film to Maverick Entertainment also. They are a distribution company for independent films.

What advice would you give someone who wants to start doing what you do?

Contrina: Go for it!!! Build a team. A strong production team is the key. You have to have faith and believe in something greater than you and for me that is God. God always provide, there’s no way I could do this without having faith and believing in God. Teamwork makes the dream work. And you have to invest in yourself. You can’t expect others to believe if you don’t.

As African American culture has been Evolving in the past few years, how do you translate that in your field?

Contrina: By bringing awareness to different issues that affect us as a people and being a voice. In my projects we discuss mental health, sexual abuse, sexuality, and etc. I’m also have a future project that will discuss racism and police brutality. I try really hard to display Multidimensional characters. We are a people of many layers. Characters that are outside the box. I have a range of different characters from artists, entrepreneurs, nurses, teachers, politicians, rap stars, musicians, dancers, poets to hustlers.  

What’s your dream cast?

Contrina: Dream cast: I would love to work with Viola Davis, Denzel Washington, Phylicia Rashad and Angela Bassett on a drama. That would be dope. It’s so many. I also love Tarija P Henson, Omar Epps, Bette Midler, Kathy Bates, Renee Lawless, and Larenz Tate too. Too many to name. I would love to write on a Shonda Rhimes or Mara Brock Akil or Dick Wolf tv series.

What topic would you never touch?

 Contrina: I don’t know I think I’m pretty open to a certain extend. Maybe slavery is something that I might not show in my films just because I think that its been showed time and time again in our films and there so much more to show. 

How do you personally juggle personal life with your work life?

Contrina: It can be hard sometimes. I have a great support system and that really helps. Balancing being a Mom with working on my dream is a lot…but I’m a Mom first. Sometimes I will bring my daughter on set and to auditions and my son has help a couple of times behind the scenes. My kids think what I do is cool lol. My daughter wants to be an actress and my son is into music production.  I also work full time as a Corporate recruiter my goal in the next three years is to focus totally on filmmaking. Right now its definitely a juggling act.When it comes to relationships it can be difficult because my time is limited especially when we are in production. I try to take mental breaks rather it’s a trip to the spa, a vacation, hanging with friends and family or just some alone time at home. I struggle with balance. I overwhelm myself and stretch myself thin but I’m working on that lol

Who all is involved in your team?

Contrina: Vincent Johnson is our Casting Director and Acting Coach. When we do stage plays he is the Director. Courtney Elaine is our Creative Consultant and Associate Producer. She has also directed and been our Creative Director. A new addition to our team is Rhonda Adams she is our Creative Director, Stylist, and Set Designer. We also partner with IDO Media. That team consist of Brandon Kelly and Patrick Wickliffe They handle filming, sound, and editing.

 open mic!!! The stage is yours.

 Contrina: Its so important to walk in your purpose. Don’t let fear limited you. If you see something you want go for it!

Entertainment

Onney the CEO

talks to us as she grows from poet to Rising Star

 How did you get the name Onney?

Onney: 2 of my favorite mentors Dr. KG Bell (Dean of Graduate Studies) and Frank Jones (Willie Harris) gave me this name early on in my poetic journey back in 2001. It means to desire to be great. 

What motivated you to do this show?

Onney: I Love being a cheerleader of sorts. I have always been attracted to the light in others, so I created a platform that would allow me to introduce the world to the light I see in others. It’s not work when you love it.


What topic is your favorite?

Onney: The topic I seem to hone in on is, “What makes this guest Outside the Box”; be it music, film, beauty industry, arts or otherwise. I want to know their formula for success. The motivation behind this angle is to inspire others that may be on the same journey as the guest; if they can do it, so can you.


How do you think being Black and a Female has helped and hendor you in this field?

Onney:  Being black and female in a male dominated industry has been both a challenge and a journey, but women CEO’s are the future; therefore I am hopeful of what that represents. 


What would you say to females who want to follow in your footsteps?

Onney: Stay true to yourself, heal your traumas and let go of the social stigmas that leave you stuck. Understand that everyone will not see your vision, and that is ok. Accept that the support you desire will not come from familiar faces and some of the people that your journey will bless may not be from your immediate circle. Do it anyway!! 


What is one thing that you think is the most empowering effect that you have had since you have started your journey?

Onney: The most empowering effect my journey has had was proving to myself that I can do it. Sometimes we are our own worst critics. It is important to walk the walk and talk the talk. How can you inspire others when you yourself aren’t inspired? 


Who would be your dream guest?

Onney: I have so many dream guests that it’s hard to narrow it down. I would however love to interview Oprah because she is my inspiration when it comes to having a talk show that makes a difference in the community.


What do you want to see happen with your show?

Onney: The goal is to get my show on a syndicated network on prime time TV… It’s coming! 


What inspires your talent?

Onney: The love of life, and art. 


What’s your favorite part of doing your show?

Onney: My favorite part of doing my talk show is being able to sit across from others and be inspired first hand from their journey. I thoroughly enjoy being able to put those that inspire me on multiple platforms at once to inspire others as well. So far I have made amazing connections that have allowed me to pass the blessing forward to others on their journey to success. 


What’s the funniest moment you’ve had so far on your show that you were not expecting?

Onney: I had a guest get up in the middle of a recording to surprise a guest they brought with them… totally messed up the production and flow of the show, but I had to keep going as if it was planned… if you are reading this, please never excuse yourself while the cameras are rolling in the middle of an interview.


Where can people watch your show?

Onney: You can catch Outside the Box with Onney on all streaming platforms including Hip Hop Streets Live Stream Music App, YouTube, Apple Music and more on Wednesday’s at 7pm. You can also catch us on AStar TV on Thursdays at 7pm. Each week we bring new guests on the show.

Open mic!!!(the stage is yours…enjoy)

REFLECTION….

“The Liberation of a Lil’ Brown Girl” 

I’m on the verge of a break up, a break up to make up all of the inconsistencies that I have found within me… So yes, I am breaking up with myself! It’s not about anyone else, because when it’s all said and done and the shit hits the fan, I am the only one left to take the stand,… and I understand what bad choices can do. Bad choices can make you look like the fool, bad choices can make you seem so uncouf – I tell you the truth that, I HAVE HAD MY SHARE!! So as I stand in the mirror, I can’t stand to see the reflection staring back at me. So it’s time that I remove all of the trash and debris, plus the make up! And take up some advice from my old friend 7…like he said, “it’s not about Mary Kay, Fashion Fair or Mac it’s the personal baggage that’s attached” and I refuse to be the bag lady!!! So today I am breaking up with me! Because when I look in that mirror I can’t stand the reflection that I see.

Now don’t get me wrong everything I see is not bad, but it’s sad because, as I look beyond the surface of the reflection and look into my own eyes, the pain I have inflicted on myself makes me want to cry. How can I make bad decisions in relationships and then have the audacity, to turn around and ask God why Me? How can I love a man more than I love myself? How can I put everything else before my well being and put my priorities on a shelf? It’s time to wake up, so I am going to shake up myself with a personal break up so I can be a better me and be satisfied with the reflection I see in that mirror staring back at me.

Yes I am great mother to my sons and I love all three, yes indeed. But where’s that man that planted those seeds? The problem was I put his wants before my needs! The problem was I never had time to BREATHE, a mother at the young age of 16! Yeah I may have finished school but I have disillusioned myself with love by playing the fool. Not just once, but twice so I have to tell myself that something just ain’t right. You can’t do the same thing expecting different results, that mathematical equation will never add up. The problem wasn’t them, it was me, because I allowed those men to treat me unfairly. My first husband beated on me and my second husband cheated on me and I stuck around way too long because I didn’t think that I was worthy. That mindset was embedded in my mentality leaving me to be a product of my environment on the inside, so I wore a smile on the outside trying to hide my dismay, but today I AM FREE! I am free from your judgment of me, I am free to be whomever I want to be even if you don’t find it satisfactory. I am breaking up with me because I will no longer be – bound by the molestation that happen to me from the man I had to call step-daddy, I will no longer be bound by extension cord beatings and mother screaming YOU B***H! YOU AINT GONE BE S**T! I owe it to that little black girl who was lost in this dark world a new beginning with a Happy Ending. SHE DESERVES TO BE FINALLY BE HAPPY. She deserves a life that’s tear free and full of possibilities. 

 All my life I have lived just to prove them wrong! I’ve written books, songs and recited poems, starred in stage plays and executive produced my own CD, even did a few movies, But still I couldn’t seem to break away from the shackles that held me, because with all that success I still felt empty. I still thought that it was my image that would make me! But I was sadly mistaken, because they say imitation is the best form of flattery, but not when your imitating being happy! Not when your closest friends turn out to be your enemies. I would walk through the poetry lounge with this great big smile, making sure my hair on point and my cloths was in style. But who the hell cares? I wasn’t content even when I did get compliments. This was my get away from the reality of dealing with ME, and so…we’re breaking up! All those things I went through I never let go and forgot… I am making up my mind to say that isn’t what LIFE’S about!  I want to be free…so I am breaking up with me, because when I look in the mirror do you know who I need to see? I need to see a God Fearing, faith having, bold, beautiful and secure black woman staring back at me! And that is what I call a REFLECTION of Perfection…

Coping Mentality

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One woman’s insight into her mental health and how she copes with her processing of life. Please remember this is her perspective.

Enjoy.

When you hear the word PTSD my first thought is military but of course it goes beyond that. I look back at my childhood and knowing all the dramatic events and situations I was in I think to myself NO WONDER why I am the way I am now. I fit the behavior of the title but I don’t consider myself a person with PTSD.

Because I know someone who does have it and I can’t see two people suffering from it helping each other get out of it making any progress from it. But I need to focus because this is going to be a long story.

I feel that if you put your truth out there, there’s a freeing aspect that is worth getting pass the fear of putting yourself out there. Even if no one accepts it, it’s important that you can accept that your the one that counts the most. Because in the end it’s your life.

People look at me and tell me I’m very confident and I have this demeanor of seriousness but caring aspect. And honestly, I try not to laugh in peoples faces. Because I think to myself Why???? Me??? like Charley Brown would say, Good Grief! But that’s insecurities talking.

I guess I can say I do have those traits but I also know I have so much more. Others would probably look down on but it is what it is. I will list what my traits are and give a brief reason why to help you understand.

I am a control freak- at 17 I was assaulted by my pastor’s son so I have to have some type of control of whatever I’m doing. It’s my security blanket.

I am very fearful-growing up I was bullied not just by strangers but family as well. So I live with a lot of fear inside me at times.

I am sad-I lost my mother that I helped take care of from the age of 12 and in knowing I will never have the ability of having children it was like I have been grieving a mother friend and child all at once. I took care of her for 8 years so losing someone that you took care of like they were your child, I grieve like i lost an 8 year old child.

I am cautious-because I am naive. I am still very trusting of other’s when I shouldn’t be

I am happy-I have a life I never thought I have. I have friends that I could never dream of having and seeing my ability to do what my mindset can create is motivating.

I am smarter than your average bear-Knowing I’m looked at as not being very smart, uneducated and not going far in life but yet I’m the one you go to for help…yeah enough said on that.

I am confident-I know I am my main cheerleader and I know my weakness and my strength. I know I am capable of doing things and having the ability to learn new things is something I’m proud of.

I am sensitive-I know my vulnerability and family is one of them. Anyone or thing that I care about becomes my weakness.

I am vulnerable-I have never loss that ability of trust so I have not grown that ability to know who to trust safely or to be unsure of.

I am still alive-I have never shied away from being vocal about having health issues and I’ve always said to people I didn’t think i would see 19 so to come as far as I have helps me get pass peoples antics and bad behavior where I know other’s who would have ended their lives because of other’s actions.

I survived Mental Abuse-I grew up with a sibling who tried to kill me (literally) and the backlash for standing up for myself left me coming off as quiet nature

(until I open my mouth. )

Now with all that being said I still wouldn’t say I have PTSD I would say I had a challenging life. Because of dealing with a friend who has a severe case of it puts my trama in a different outlook to me. I know my mental health is better than his but I think everyone needs a type of check-up to see if everything is OK. I mean you make sure your automobile is working why not your mental health?

My check-up stations as I call them are: Friends, Family and Myself.

There are a couple of friends I go to when I need a oil change you could say. There’s always someone I can talk to when I need that extra ear and when those times come into play when I don’t have that access I have myself. I write my problems out and then I bake my stress away and go back to what I wrote with a clearer head and figure out the issue. That’s my process right now.

I remember having those days when I would cry & nothing was wrong and later realizing it was just hormones. But in those moments you just feel low. I don’t make myself feel bad for having them but I recognize what it is and I don’t add to it and let it pass through me and regroup and move forward. It’s an ongoing process with many trips for check ups sometimes, but just like a automobile its an investment that you want to keep in good condition. and I like to think I’m more valuable than an automobile.

Just my thoughts.

Shareeduh Tate

Her family tragedy became a global movement for Police reform and for Social Justice

I wanted to thank you again but also to send my deepest condolences to you and your family for your loss. I always thought you would leave a mark but never thought under this type of situation. 

I’ve met you years ago working together in the medical field, what have you been up to since then?

Shareeduh: A lot has happened since I worked with you. Since then I have obtained my Bachelor and Master degrees in nursing and currently working on my doctorate in nursing slated to complete in May 2022. Of course within the last year I suffered the loss of my cousin George Floyd and have the honor of being the President of the foundation founded by our family to honor his legacy.

 How long have you been in healthcare?

Shareeduh: I have worked in healthcare for almost 30 years.

How did you get involved in the Ivyinc Soarers?

Shareeduh: I became involved with the Soarers  community after feeling like I needed something more. Ivy McGregor, the leader of the community is a member of my church and I have always found her to be an inspiration. I had just gone through a divorce, change in jobs and was completing my Masters program but still felt something was missing. I saw that she was started a community that would service others and I wanted in immediately.

Where were you on May 25,2020 when you received the news?

Shareeduh: I actually did not find out until the early morning on May 26,2020 and I was actually at home getting ready for work when I received the call from my cousin notifying me of Perry’s death.

Before that day what was your thoughts about Black lives Matter?

And after?

Shareeduh: I have always felt that Black Lives Matter because I have been a Black woman my whole life . I have experienced the injustices and watched them throughout my life. When Trayvon Martin was murdered it kind of awakened me again . I remember being angry for some time after his death particularly when Zimmerman was acquitted. The difference is that I am now channeling that energy into doing the work that will make a change in the way people of color are being treated as it relates to police reform.

How do you think our African American community will translate the Bill if it is passed?

Shareeduh: I think our community will be slow to respond if the Bill is passed initially. Largely because we have had Bills for years that were supposed to protect our rights. I think once they see it actually being enforced that they will have a different perspective and or response.  

How do you think we can relate to them the reality of the importance of it?

Shareeduh: I think that education and our continual push to create the change will demonstrate the importance of it!

How has it helped you and your family knowing you had support from across the world through this tragedy?

Shareeduh: Having the support, prayers and love of countless individuals across the globe has made a difficult situation much more tolerable. To know that his death and the brutality of it resonated with so many and galvanized them to make changes has been a tremendous help

What is the name of the foundation and how can people support?

Shareeduh: The George Floyd Foundation www.thegeorgefloydfoundation.or

What type of events and efforts do you want to get done through the foundation?

Shareeduh: The foundation has 3 initiatives Social Justice, Work Force Development and Youth Services. We are engaged in activities from anything to protest, rallies, panel discussions, back to school drives, summer camps, training programs for students and adults and legislative hearings.

Unfortunately with all positive aspects with everything there is also negative. How has your family and yourself been able to stay strong throughout the negativity?

We have been able to stay strong because we simply do not give any energy towards negativity. We have recognized that we are not going to change the mindsets of most of them and our energy is best used to fuel positivity.

What do you want the world to know about your cousin George Floyd?

Shareeduh: I want the world to know that he was a person who was loved by many. He was someone who loved to help people and had a great sense of humor. He loved his family, God and his community. He represented the Third Ward,  Cuney Homes and Jack Yates with pride and his life mattered!

How do you help your son understand the magnitude of the historical importance of what you have been going through since that day in May?

Shareeduh: It is a struggle sometimes to get him to fully wrap his mind around the historical importance of this moment. I just make sure he is included knowing that one day he will be able to make the connection and be grateful that his mother included him in the process.

What was going through your mind when you were preparing to go on live TV?

Shareeduh: Each time that I am on TV my prayer is that I represent God and my family well and that the time that I am allotted to speak that it is used in a way that can help move the needle forward in social justice, police reform and solidifying George’s legacy.

 What is one question you wish people would ask about your family that you’ve been wanting to say?

Shareeduh: I cannot think of a question because when given the opportunity I share freely those things that I would like people to know about our family.

Let’s talk fashion! You’ve had a style all your own since I’ve known you….What’s your inspiration behind it all?

Shareeduh: From a very early age I have  admired people whose clothing was well put together. I enjoy putting clothes together and I am excited about what I come up with. Fashion is something that I enjoy!

What do you think Floyd would say about how everything has been playing out since his passing?

Shareeduh: I think he would be super proud of everything that is going on especially since he always said that people were going to know him and that he was going to be famous!

How has your faith gotten you through this journey?

Shareeduh: Faith has gotten me through so many challenges and tragedies in my life and it is the only reason why I am still standing strong! God is everything to me and I am nothing without Him!

Has there been anyone who you were surprised to get support from?

Shareeduh: Beyond the initial surprise of the legions of people who were supporting us I honestly cannot think of any one person that I was surprised that we received support from.

What’s a funny moment your willing to share of George?

Shareeduh: George was a practical joker so I cannot really think of just one moment that was funny to me. He was always doing something especially when we were kids..

What are your thoughts if the bill isn’t passed?

Shareeduh: I believe the Bill will be passed no matter how long it takes so I have no thoughts regarding  it not being passed

What do you want YOUR legacy to be?

Shareeduh: I would like my legacy to be one that used her God given gifts to help effect change that will make this world a better place for people of color as it relates to social justice and police reform and encouraging others to never give up on their dreams. If you can conceive it, believe it and you can achieve it!

open mic!!!

(this is where you can say anything that you want. The stage is yours!)

I would just like to take this opportunity to thank all f our followers and supporters and to ask that they continue to keep us in their prayers. This journey is a marathon not a sprint and it will take the collective efforts of us all to see true social justice change and police reform!

Black Snow

One of Houston’s most beloved Poets shares his insight as he is known for his consistency and longevity in the Houston poetry scene.

For people who do not know How did you get the name Black snow?

Black Snow: While in college I listened to a lot of Bob Marley and became somewhat of an advocate for my people (Black People).  So I developed the pen name, Black Snow, which is really an acronym for “Blacks Now”, because I believe it’s our time.  Then put the two words together and you get me “Black Snow” and that’s how I became known as Black Snow!  I often tell people that I don’t have anything against other races, I just love my people.

 You are known for creating a collective of poets called….?

Black Snow: The collective of poets that I am known for creating is called “Snow Industries”.  We are an award-winning group of poets who have been selected because of our various attributes and talents that we bring to the table.  We are one of the original group of poets that has been on the Houston poetry scene since 2002.  We are dedicated to advancing poetry throughout the City of Houston.  Over the years, our members have changed but our core group of poets remain the same until this very day.  We are more than a collective or group of poets, we are family.  Shout out to past and present members, most notably: Nef 007, Rain, Shanie, Chocolate Lava, Lady Pariah, Savannah Blue, A.T., Chris Crawford, Kyle Blue, Seth Walker, II D.E.E.P, Ghost and Queen Sheba. .  S.I. 4 Life!

 Another aspect that makes you stand out is your history with supporting fellow poets, why is that so important to you?

Black Snow: It is important to me to support other poets of all backgrounds and walks of life, because I remember a time when we lost all of our venues because we didn’t support each other.  There was no place for people who looked like me to call home as a poet and ever since that day, I vowed that we would never lose what some of us worked so hard to build again.  I even went so far as to begin paying poets to feature because I understood that we first must support each other before we could expect anyone else to support us.  I have maintained that philosophy and thinking until this very day.

 Can you refresh readers to projects you have worked on and are in the process of creating?

Black Snow: I have worked on a variety of projects from developing stages that allow poets to be paid, such as The Best Lil Poetry House in Texas, up to and including The Match Theater.  I have five poetry CD’s, and I have been the executive producer on my five different albums. 

I’ve hosted multiple venues at once in order to bring poetry to every corner of the great City of Houston.  I have appeared in the movie the Deadly Words and the movie, Live, Love and Laugh.  I am the founder and C.E.O. of the collective, Snow Industries.  The curator and host of The Best Lil Poetry House in Texas and I am currently the co-host along with Se7en the Poet of one of Houston’s premier open mic,

No Sugar Coating Sugar’s at Sugar’s Cajun Cuisine Restaurant and Bar in Missouri City, Texas.  I’ve hosted venues that others dare not try, like Mr. A’s the Club, G’s & Z’s, Under the Bridge, The Grum Bar, The Party Room, Midtown Bar & Grill, Beaucoup Bar & Grill, Daiqui-Ritas Lounge, The Sport’s Box Lounge and more. 

I’m looking forward to working with other poets to bring poetry to even bigger stages, so stay connected to Snow Industries poetry.

 What would you suggest to fellow writers when they are looking for help for writer’s block?

Black Snow: Use writing prompts, write about your day, what made you smile or how you are feeling about yourself and like Se7en says, write about having writer’s block, but whatever you do, just write!

  What advice would you give the future generation of poets when it comes to leaving a lasting presence in their community? 

Black Snow: Work together, always believe in your goals and dreams, try not to repeat the mistakes of the past, help develop those who are coming behind you, build a bridge and always, always work hard and when you are done, pass the baton to the next generation.  Leave the community better than you found it!

 What motivates your passions?

Black Snow: I have been writing since the 3rd grade.  I use to write my own comic books and develop my own characters.  In the 11th grade I won a Black History Poetry Contest, I was so excited that I went home and told my parents and my dad told me that I couldn’t eat those words and that I need to think about getting a real job.  So I would write poems and put them in a shoe box in my closet. 

I continued to do this throughout college and my young working life.  Then one Sunday, I heard Joel Osteen’s dad talking about the man with a gift and how he buried his gift.  I went to my closet and pulled out the shoe box and vowed to share my gift with the world.  I went on to develop my famous Picture in a Poem and produced five poetry CD’s to share with the world and the rest is history.

  How do you use your platform to help your community?

Black Snow: I use my art to motivate and inspire elementary school kids as well as older people.   I’ve performed in coffee houses, clubs, schools and churches seeking to motivate and inspire others with my words.

  Where can people catch you on stage?

Black Snow: You can catch me every Thursday night at Sugar’s Cajun Cuisine Restaurant & Bar in Missouri City, Tx and various venues throughout the city

When it comes to the changes with Black History in the past few years how do you reflect on what is aired to the world, especially knowing you have sons?

Black Snow: I still view our people in an oppressed way, the young black males in America are under attack.  We have to be steadfast in our convictions and beliefs, teach our sons to be strong men that protect and serve our people with the help of the creator, we will prevail as we have always done.  Never lose faith.

What is a highlight in your poetic career?

Black Snow: I was instrumental in getting the poets paid in Houston starting back in 2000 at The Sports Box Lounge.  I’m very proud to say that I offered many deserving artists their first feature and first paycheck for performing their work.

 Open mic!  The stage is your 

I’m thankful that I had people around me that believed in me and helped me every step of the way.  I always say that we can rarely accomplish anything by ourselves and I’m grateful for the team of people that the creator put in my life.  Thanks for the love and for the opportunity to be called poet.

Thanks,

Black Snow

Poetry

Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.~Robert Frost

How’s That Working For You

Hunched in a corner

absent of ones honor.

What should I do

in order to stay true

of what comes naturally

for ME?

My hands are tied,

and the welts these ropes leave

are permanent,

but I’m hell bent

on getting past this nightmare.

Life’s just not fair.

We’re not suppose to compare

our accomplishments or failures,

but work together,

pray together,

and be on our way

together,

unless otherwise directed

by the Father.

No one man is an island,

but sometimes it gets to the point

to where,

like a prisoner,

I feel like busting out

of this joint.

Being on your own

not because you’re grown…

grown folks have responsibilities.

They don’t hide in the shadows,

trading todays for tomorrows,

throwing rocks and hiding their hands

making unrealistic demands

taking break after break

can’t hit a lick at a snake

having someone else’s cake

and eating it too

in order to receive what

you think is due.

Why is that so hard for you?

~~Dorothy Sells Clover

————————————————————————————————————

 The Art of Marriage Happiness

in marriage is not something that just happens.

A good marriage must be created.

In the art of marriage the little things don’t just matter they are the big things….

it’s never being too old to hold hands.It is remembering to say “I love you”

at least once a day

It’s never going to sleep angry

Making the effort to figure things out.

It is at no time taking the other for granted.

The courtship should never end with the honeymoon

Your life together is the greatest trip you will take together

It is having a mutual sense of value and common objectives.

It is standing together united.

It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.

It is doing things for each other, not in the mindset of having to but loving to

It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.

It is not looking for perfection in each other but knowing that

with your faults you are perfect for each other.

It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding and a sense of humor is a MUST.

It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.

It is giving each other the atmosphere in which each can grow.

It is finding room for individual love to grow in unison.

It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.

It is establishing a relationship in which independence is equal,

dependence is mutual and the obligation is reciprocal.

It is not only marrying the right partner, it is being the right partner

It is discovering what marriage can be, at its best

Marriage is love from two becoming one 

Lady D

Entertainment

What is the name of the event and what is it for?

Miss. Shantell: The I’m a Survivor seminar is an artistic counseling event where I gather with the artist in the city of Houston and counsel to the community through different forms of Art


How long has the event been running for?

Miss Shantell: The I’m Survivor Seminar has been going on since 2015


What should people expect if they are coming for the first time?

Miss Shantell: This event is and emotional roller coaster ride. It would take you on a journey that you have never been on before. It will make you laugh is going to make you cry hell you might even want to take a leap around the room, but most of all is healing


How does someone go about joining in on the event?

Miss Shantell: By either contacting I.A.G. Productions or poACTryProductions, or by just attending the event and sharing their story with us


What has been your best memory so far?

Miss. Shantell: Back in 2018 we was congressionally recognized by congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee for the work we was doing with the I’m a Survivor seminar for the children in the community. That’s a memory that I would never forget because it let me know that what we are doing is helping somebody. It let us know that we’re doing something that means something to somebody


If you could have anyone perform who and why?

Miss. Shantell: Well since I am usually the person that makes the executive decision behind who perform; I would say the people the on the event this year like Nissi Hamilton, She So Cold, Socra Teez the poet, Rosie Bush and so many more,  but the one person I really want to share her story, that doesn’t want to, is my mother because she is the reason why we are even much is doing this event. I feel like it’s time for her to tell her story she wants me to tell it. 
OMG, I feel like crying, one day I’ma get her to finally tell her story, I Promise


You have a number of Houston’s Best poets and performers continue to support your event. What’s your secret?

Miss. Shantell: Because I allow them to tell their testimony and only a way that they can. Without it being censored allow them to be free I allow them to be outspoken and raw. No one can tell you how your story needs to be told but you, and nobody knows your story but you. So why not, but that’s not a secret it’s public information, LOL.


How does someone get tickets for the upcoming event?

Miss. Shantell: By either contacting anyone that’s actually on the event or by clicking on the linkiag-productions.ticketleap.com/iass2k21/


What can people do to help support throughout the year to help support for the next event?

Miss. Shantell: By staying in contact with IAG Productions and poACTry Productions and it’s events that they put on throughout the year,  there are always sponsorship packages available, or they can support the different organizations that we all are apart of and trust me there are a lot


If you could let the world know anything about what you do, what would you say?

Miss. Shantell: I am just an artist The Love supporting other artists, I am a person that just loves helping other people I am very modest, I am very caring, I would give the shirt off my very back to make sure that you have one. That’s just me and it can’t get any more real than that

Entertainment

What is the name of your show?

Nite Talks with Sasha: From a Plus -size woman’s point of view

   Shalanda:  I am also co-owner of a production company called S and M Radio Productions, LLC where my husband and I host a show titled S and M Radio.

How did you decide the format for the show?

Shalanda: The format came about because I did not see many women, especially plus size women talk about all issues. They mainly talked about women issues in dating and relationships. I wanted to be more than that. I wanted to talk about everything like I did with my friends. 

How would you describe your first show?

Shalanda: Oh wow, I am going to be honest and say I do not remember! LOL!

I am sure it was a controlled mess! 

Why did you decide to do radio?

Shalanda: I did not really! It chose me! I was asked to guest host a show in 2011 and was asked to stay there and 

   became apart of the show permanently. There I learned a lot and in 2012 decided that I wanted to start my own show. I found a voice that I never knew I had or needed and wanted to share my thoughts with the world.

What’s your favorite topic?

Shalanda: Oh wow, So many!  But the one that still sticks with me is a show I did on Sex Trafficking. It was when sex trafficking was on people’s radar and a show on A&E led me to thinking how can I make this known to others to hopefully help someone and teach others: myself included of what to look for. I was very proud of the information that got out because of that show! 

  The other show that was my favorite and the show that made me viral was Does Size Matter. People still search and listen to that show!

What would you tell fellow Black females who want to enter into this industry?

Shalanda: do not take it personal if others do not believe or see your vision or support you.

  B) Have something to say! I mean do not be afraid to discuss any topic that comes your way. Tackle politics! Tackle voting and the Racial divide. Do not be afraid to push the needle and be a little Shock jock! We have enough fluff.

  C) Surround yourself with folks that love what you do! Collab together with people.

   D) Most important! Promote the hell out of yourself! Tell people in the streets and not just on your   Facebook pages. Treat your show like a second job. You can’t put in only 2 hours and expect it to pick up because it won’t! And stay consistent! You will have to do what I’m doing now and starting back over. Which is okay because now I have the history to do better this time! Learning from my own mistakes!

  E). Do not get discouraged if folks aren’t listening because, they are! Just keep going and you will gain and audience.

Who would be your dream guest?

Shalanda: Jill Scott simply because I love her!

Secondly, I would say Amanda Seals. I feel that we have similar traits and love how she does not dumb herself down for others. I would love to pick her brain!

 Have you ever felt like you ever went too far with a discussion and regretted it OR wished you had continued?!

Shalanda: Let me say that again! NEVER!

I love pushing the envelope and people to see past their one-sided thinking about certain topics.

For me NOTHING is TABOO on my show. I’ve had people come out on the show, even a couple that has an open marriage. I inform guest that I am going to ask HARD questions. If people come into my playpen, they know that we are going to have a hard and HONEST discussion!  So far..lol no one has stormed off!

How do you prepare to be a host?

Shalanda:I try to prepare my guests by getting them set up and give them a quick pep talk and try to reassure them. I also try to get everything done 30 minutes before the show to try to get ahead of technical difficulties. I also get myself in a good head space by lowering the lights. I play a little Jill Scott but honestly it never helps! I still get the butterflies before EVER show! Which to me is a good thing. It means for ME that I am still enjoying myself.

What would you say is a financial benefit of doing radio?

    Shalanda: I am a talker and love honest and open dialogue. So, my shows are setup the same way. Nothing is taboo for me except the sexually abuse of children and/or animals. 

There is a great benefit if you can get paid by getting on platforms like Iheart radio and Sirrus XM radio and other streaming platforms. Being on these streams can be good and bad especially one where  you may have to change  your format to fit their programming, one such platform is Youtube. When a show is Just getting started you can use your platform to allow other people to advertise on your show by doing ads or even promos where that cash can be put back into your show to help supplement equipment and upkeep.

How can people check out your show?

Shalanda: People can catch my show Nite Talks with Sasha on www.spreaker.com/sandmradioproductions every other Thursday at 9pm. People can also check out S and M Radio on Monday’s and Friday’s at 9pm to 11pm also on http://www.spreaker.com/sandmradioproductions

Mental Health in a Pandemic

Photo by Anthony Shkraba on Pexels.com

Before this get’s started NO there isn’t surveys or doctor’s feedback in this article but one persons view on their thoughts and mindset on how they are dealing with the topic at hand. So if you find any insight or understanding then it has found its purpose but if not then I hope it brings some insight to how other’s think.

Enjoy!

Working in the medical field you would think you would have a numb side to death and most of the time you do. But when this Pandemic hit you could feel that this was different. Preventive care wasn’t explained properly at first then for it not being fully understood what the illness actually was. I felt like we were headed into deadly territory and sad to say I saw first hand how deadly it would become. Seeing families in fear and then seeing your own family starting to feel the effects of it and your helpless to guide them because no one has the right answers just guesses. The fear is a level you see in movies where everyone panics and stopple over each other to escape the danger. But no screen could cover the amount of damage the world would feel let alone one person in the medical field.

I think I started wondering about my life when I had to constantly reassure my family that I was okay. Sometimes wondering am I really? It wasn’t a secrete that I wasn’t happy where I was and the precautions that was being offered but I also knew it was basically the same everywhere so there was no way of getting away from that feeling of uncertainty. So to have a higher anxiety than normal was very present. I think with every tempt reading anxiety would go up a decimal. As the death count started rising in Houston the realization that I was going to be dealing with it soon in some fashion was coming to the light. I don’t think I was fully prepared for how fast nor how in depth I would feel it though.

I first started to deal with it when I started getting the symptoms of the virus but I was A symptomatic which means I had the symptoms but not the virus itself. But when my patients started dying from the virus it got real. Then when friends started passing and coworkers that’s when it was time to make a decision to either run or stand ground and to be honest I was too scared to run from something I couldn’t run from. I used my limited protective gear for no other reason but for reassuring my patient’s wouldn’t pass feeling alone. But being in the medical field you don’t just deal with one type of virus. You deal with multiple and that’s when I met my biggest challenge. Every virus does not always get along with other viruses. Now add in limited protective gear and with that you have a week’s stay in a hospital filled to the brim with covid cases and your stuck there.

How do you cope?

How do you maintain your sanity?

Your family sanity since they can’t see you?

for me it’s part comedy relief and meditation. From making nurses who were treating me laugh when my arm was the size of a flintstone character to constantly reminding myself that it could be worse and it’s not so chill out. Plus not wanting to add fear into your friends and family because they KNOW YOU. Your that person who doesn’t duck when gun fire is in the building or stand down to bulling towards you or others. Nothing scares you. Until now.

Until now your confidence is shook. Your livelihood isn’t the same. Nothing around you is the same. You are not the same. Your mid life crisis has been bumped up to your early 40’s instead of 50’s and your clueless to what to do. You can’t visit anyone because your in a pandemic so that means no doctor, pastor or even friends to visit. Everything is televised and everything on the TV is barely factual or positive, so how do you cope?

Dig deep into your faith. Whatever it is breath into it. Become one and deposit love into it.

Remember your core self. Know who you wanted to be as a person and continue to strive to be that person.

Love what you have become. That means accepting the bad improving your weakness but taking mental note of your progress and being proud of what you improved on and know it’s okay to pat yourself on your back. its not being stuck up its self love.

And most of all don’t ever feel likes its not okay to talk to someone. That’s what friends and family is for including Doctor’s and Pastor’s and counselors.

If this pandemic has taught us anything is that life is short and you can live it with sadness or you can live.

Let’s try living in the life.

LadyD

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